Parkite finishes fourth at Women’s State Am |

Parkite finishes fourth at Women’s State Am

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

Julie McMullin may have given up her dreams of living off of her golf tournament winnings a long time ago, but she hasn’t given up her love of the game. And as one of Utah’s top female players, she still rakes in a little cash on the side.

McMullin competed in the 103rd annual Women’s State Amateur Golf Tournament last week at Thanksgiving Point and came in fourth among amateur players from across the state of Utah.

This is her third top-four finish at a statewide individual tournament in the past two months. She took first place at the Mountain Dell Classic on June 24 and third at the Utah Cup on July 1. Although amateurs do not play for money, there are cash prizes involved for those who place in individual tournaments.

The funny thing is, McMullin recently decided that she should play golf for fun rather than for the competitive aspect. "I think why I’ve been playing so well lately is because I’ve decided it has to be about having fun and not so much about being so intense that you can’t see straight," she says.

When she started playing golf 14 years ago, McMullin toyed with the idea of going pro. However, after sustaining a couple of injuries, she decided to relegate the sport to a pastime. "I don’t even really play that much anymore," she says. "It’s a passion of mine but it’s not my only focus. Now it’s more or less just an escape."

But with 9-iron in hand, McMullin proves that her competitive spirit hasn’t faded over time.

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From teenagers to seniors, the Women’s State Amateur, or State Am, drew 89 competitors to the three-day, 54-hole tournament. The format was stroke play, which means that the player who has the lowest combined total score at the end of the rounds wins.

McMullin has competed in the tournament for the past 13 years, and has placed in the top five since 2007.

This year, there was an added twist. Thanksgiving Point’s golf course is notoriously challenging, and at nearly 6,000 yards, it is the longest course in the history of the tournament. "It was an interesting tournament this year," McMullin says. "Thanksgiving Point is a very tough course. The greens have a lot of challenging breaks and curves and hills. The sand traps are deep and numerous, and they’re not very easy to get out of."

Despite the literal pitfalls of the course, McMullin shot a combined score of 226, sliding into fourth place in the Championship Flight (handicaps between zero and five).

"I think that this was her best performance ever," says golf pro Cynthia Brown, who has coached McMullin for many years. "She hit the ball better than I’ve ever seen her in competition and she gave them a good run. Over three days, she only had about four bad holes. She played great."

McMullin, who turns 42 next month, finished behind Natalie Stone in first place, Serene Blair in second and Annika Afoa in third, all of whom are 22 or younger. "I was trying to hang tight for all the veterans out there," she laughs.

Parkites Rina Slade and Louise McKee, who play with McMullin in the Park City Women’s 18-Hole League, also competed in the Women’s State Am. Next year, the women will have the advantage of playing on their home turf as the tournament will be held at the Park City Golf Course.

Although McMullin says her competitive season is pretty much over, she remains involved in the golf scene as she and Brown plan the annual Playing for Life tournament, a breast-cancer fundraiser that will be held Aug. 13-14 at the Park City Golf Course. "I’m putting all my efforts toward that right now," she says.